While I really love my Kinsa smart stick, I am always interested in seeing how these crowdfunded devices on Indiegogo & Kickstarter perform & compare in contrast to what is presently out on the market.
The Kinsa smart stick (which I bought a few years ago at my local CVS) was my first digital health phone-connected device.
I tested it against a regular digital thermometer a few times & then against doctor’s office reads & it was very accurate (I admit some healthy skepticism at first as far as accuracy). I bought it because one of my digital thermometers died & then I temporarily lost my replacement.
I thought also it might be good to have something to keep on me in case I became ill at the office or somewhere else suddenly. I like that since it was a phone-connected device so I didn’t have to worry about replacing the batteries.
My other thermometers prior to this one always had those button batteries & they’re a pain in the butt to uninstall & reinstall when they die.
The Kinsa smart stick is simple & straightforward & easy to use. I’ve packed it away in my transplant bag so I don’t forget it. As after transplant, if I don’t have a fever where I’d need a continuous monitoring device, I still may need a once or twice daily read & want to know I packed something for that. I will have to stay away from home at a transplant house (after I leave the hospital) for a few months until after my rehabilitation is complete.
(I once tweeted Kinsa telling them how much I loved it, & mentioned how much I rely on digital devices to help monitor my health. They then reached out to me to profile me for their blog. I think this post turned out very nicely.)
So packing away my Kinsa smart stick left me without a spare for home. I intend to have one packed somewhere in the office if & when I return to work after transplant so I know an extra thermometer would get used either way.
I saw the Tympani on Indiegogo & decided it might be a great back-up option. So I backed it. Even though I’m really sensitive with anything going in my ears for some reason something about the device intrigued me enough to try it.
(Just for a gauge of sensitivity: Water drives me nuts & I can’t stand ear plugs. I get almost a sensory defensive reaction. Very uncomfortable & off-base feeling. This is why I’m very picky about earbuds. They really annoy me after a few hours & I have to take them out. Or worse yet, if there’s a god awful uncomfortable pair, I’ll throw them out because I can’t stand to have them in my ears if they are too stiff & uncomfortable.)
The verdict? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all. I’ve had way worse discomfort from the doctor office ear thermometers.
The reading is also fast. The device itself is super portable, even smaller than my Kinsa smart stick & comes with a very nice & sturdy case.
When I tested it against my old digital thermometer, the digital thermometer read my tongue temperature as 97.9 degrees. The Tympani measured 98.8 degrees in my left ear. That is not that much variance. I know there can be differences in readings based on temperature taking location.
According to the instructions it said to download either the CaringThings app or ThermoCare app. I downloaded the ThermoCare because the CaringThings app didn’t even come up in the search in the AppleStore for my iphone (unless it’s still in development. It appears to be Android only for now.) (I signed up as a beta tester hoping they’d send me a link for it if they do have an iphone app, because I couldn’t find a way to access it otherwise.) Part of the advantage was that the CaringThings app was supposed to have advanced functionality or some kind of telemedicine-type feature along with it [according to the Indiegogo campaign description] & that was an enticing draw to me.)
Granted, the Thermocare app is easy to use. Basically, hit the start button & measure. But unlike the Kinsa connected app where it automatically syncs & writes to the Apple Health app on my iphone, this app didn’t seem to store the temperature reading anywhere.
This was disappointing to me.
I didn’t have a way to review history in the Thermocare app either, at least not from what I could tell (because when I received it Friday night I took a read just to be sure it worked properly).
These are big missed opportunities if there’s no way to obtain history or track temperatures. This is also basic functionality I look for in selecting a digital health device.
Maybe they will add these features in later with a future update.
I also find it a small annoyance when there isn’t any type of basic care or cleaning instructions included in the instructions.
I’d obviously never use hand sanitizer or something sticky. I’m sure an electronics wipe is safe or better than nothing, but if there is a preferred method of keeping it clean (or something that shouldn’t be done or used because it could potentially degrade the device) it would be nice to know.
My Kinsa smart stick has disposable guards I can use like other thermometers but otherwise the care is similar to a normal digital thermometer. It did include care instructions that are easy to store in the bottom of the case.
The ultimate verdict?
Overall, I’ll stick with my Kinsa smart stick for my main thermometer because of how great of a job it does writing to other apps on my phone so I can track temperatures & pull up past readings. But in a pinch, the Tympani was certainly a worthwhile investment & a good backup to have on hand.
I’ve enclosed a few pictures of the box, the outside & inside of the case, the device & cords. I love how compact it is. (I think this case is smaller than some of those Fitbit carrying cases advertised on Amazon just to give a rough estimate of size & scale. )
(DISCLAIMER: I was not paid by either company nor sent a free device. I ordered the Tympani on my own through a crowdfunding campaign. This is not an FDA approved device [although it should be noted that no over-the-counter-thermometer on the market today requires FDA approval]. I thought doing a review might be a useful way to share experiences & information with others who could benefit from it. This review in no way constitutes medical advice or product endorsement. I also try to keep the devices I select for personal use, profiling, & reviewing in an affordable price range. Often $50 or less where possible. More expensive devices might be purchased or reviewed for their practicality or uniqueness in assisting with my personal health tracking or monitoring a chronic health issue.)
Relevant past post: SMART VITAL SIGN(S) & SKIN MONITORING (12.29.15)